A bestselling writer advises writers on the need to acquire a thick skin relating to a critical assessment of one’s writing.

A bestselling writer advises writers on the need to acquire a thick skin relating to a critical assessment of one’s writing.

{P.S. You may wonder why I often choose to post other people’s opinions or reflections instead of mine.

Well, I’m not easily satisfied with whatever I write; I tend to spend hours rewriting straightforward stuff.

With my stories, a lot of time is consumed before they are published – which is appropriate. However, a similar, fastidious process occurs, with the spontaneous attempt to present a personal reflection on my blog – too much time is lost in the process.

And so, being contented with posting blog posts by others, and scribbling a few lines seem to rescue me from my tedious endeavour.}

***

« It’s a painful lesson we all have to learn sooner or later, Larry…

Having our writing critiqued can feel terrible.

If you’re like me, you’ve even had moments when you thought about quitting because of it.

I’ve long said that developing a thick skin is essential to writing a book that will impact as many people as possible.

When you develop a thick skin…

• The thought of sharing your work no longer paralyzes you

• A constructive critique actually improves your writing instead of discouraging you

• Feedback becomes a source of inspiration rather than fear

The question is…how do you do it?

How do you go from utter terror over what someone thinks of your writing to flipping through page after page of red ink without an ounce of pain?

You don’t. The pain-free scenario doesn’t exist.

Criticism hurts—to this day, it’s still tough to hear that something I wrote missed the mark.

But it’s a necessary part of success, so I’ve learned not just to live with it, but also to thrive under it.

And you can do the same by following three simple rules.

#1. Don’t Ask Your Mother for Input

People who love you will usually try to shield you from hurtful feedback.

Unless your family or close friends are in the publishing business, resist the urge to go for them for meaningful, helpful feedback.

#2. Understand the Difference Between Reader Feedback and Professional Feedback

Many will tell you not to seek input on your writing from nonprofessionals.

I disagree.

Feedback from typical readers can be valuable, especially when you don’t have access to professionals who understand what it takes to get published.

The key is knowing what kind of feedback to seek from readers.

Did the story interest them? What did they like or not like about it? When did they feel their attention waning? Were they ever confused?

These kinds of questions pull insightful answers from readers. While it may be painful to hear a chapter was boring, it also means you’ve taken the first step toward making it compelling.

The most painful feedback often leads to our biggest breakthroughs.

But while readers can point out weaknesses, they usually aren’t equipped to advise you how to fix them—even if they believe they are.

So listen for the problems typical readers uncover, but be prepared to ignore them, if necessary.

Which brings me to my third and final tip. 🙂

#3. Master the Polite Sidestep

Despite their best intentions, someone is bound to offer feedback that isn’t helpful or constructive.

How do you respond without being rude?

Just say, “Thanks for that feedback! I appreciate it. Can’t promise I’ll work it in, but I’m grateful for your input.”

The bottom line?

No writer starts with a thick skin. But there are specific steps you can take to develop it over time.

It doesn’t get easier. You just get stronger.

You can do this!

Jerry (Jenkins) »

« P.S. Speaking of getting stronger, next Monday I’m hosting a free writing workshop called 5 Major Qualities that Separate Successful Authors from Wannabes—and How to Acquire Them. Acquiring these could forever change your writing.

All you have to do to attend is click here and register now. The workshop is online and you can watch it right from your computer. »

One comment

  1. athousandbitsofpaper · 19 Days Ago

    All good advice – fear of failure (which to writers is writing badly) is widespread – we have to get over this fear and begin to hone our craft and the only way to do that is to write – a lot – everything gets better with practice we just have to give ourselves permission to practice (and yes fail if we must) and learn and grow – great post

    Liked by 1 person

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